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Archetypes and Personas

Archetypes are aggregated descriptions of users that help us understand a type of user. Personas are personified archetypes. Personas are given typical life stories, making them easier to design for than archetypes.

Suggested time 15-30 mins
Participants 1-5

You will need: Description of service, description of user, list of users, quantitative research resources, pens. Developing an archetype is statistical work, developing a persona requires some creativity.


  1. Surveys and other quantitative ways can help us get closer to a specific type of user of the service we are improving or innovating, and the next step is to do qualitative research on a few representative types to understand some of the more human elements of the equation. Giving  personality to the user type can make a huge difference.

  2. Begin with a broad description of the target using audience; get a sample of them, design a survey to get answers (mostly demographic), administer, consume results, build archetype from statistics

  3. Based on the archetype select a sub-set, secure permission to interview and or observe 

  4. If interviewing, make sure the interview is open-ended, let the interviewee freely share information

  5. Analyze this information with Affinity Diagramming looking for correspondences and themes. From the clusters you can form personas. Create fictional descriptions (name, personality attributes, habits, etc.)

  6. Illustrate the personas by drawing or taking a photo

Illustrate the personas by drawing or taking a photo

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